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tv   Founding Era Music and Politics  CSPAN  January 25, 2016 12:55am-2:01am EST

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such a small role for them and facecyber security issues us today. >> we are forever choosing things other than security. were choosing the speed, the performance, the beecher's. security experts will tell you security really doesn't pay. >> watch monday night and 8:00 eastern on c-span2. >> next on american history tv, kirsten wood looks at the use of political music during the founding era of the united states. she explains that patriotic music created in this period was used for many purposes, including political manipulation, taunting of adversaries, and enjoyment. performers from southern methodist university's meadows
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school of the arts provided accompaniment to the talk. the one-hour event was sponsored by the smu center for presidential history. professor wood: this is my first visit to smu, my first visit to dallas. it's a beautiful campus and i hope i have a chance to come back sometime. tonight we will explore some of the uses of music in the politics of the early american republic. music mattered, even though the musical arts were not well developed here. music in america oh was in a state of deplorable barbarism. it was used to rally support, but what americans used music to rally support for very
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specifically. it could be used to animate goodwill and harmony, or it could also energize scorn. these songs were easily learned by here. songs also served as a kind of shorthand. because the melodies were easily recognized, a couple measures could evoke a whole set of political debate. also, songs could be performed collectively, quite a different experience from listening to a speech. and through various modes, songs could evoke different kinds of emotion. such uses of music were not unique to the early republic, but could be found across many
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times and places. the discipline of musicology can help us discover them. musicologists study music in many different ways, most fundamentally for our purposes tonight, historical musicology teaches us that sounds do not sound the same across historical eras and cultures. a key approach for us tonight is to remember songs are not text. the use of songs for celebration were widely known to well read americans. many members of the founding generation shared the then current belief that music had powerful effects on performers and listeners. at it had unusual
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effects on the body, the feelings, even the soul. natural philosophers speculated that hearing was most acute. we might disagree, but that was the belief at the time. not only was sounds the most potent stimulus, but it also had a physical effect, so much so that medical doctors believed they could use particular sounds as therapy for certain illness. as a scottish physician observed, music had exciting effects on the blood. much influenced by collins, philadelphia's dr. benjamin rush observed certain note stimulated brain functions such as long-term memory. both the acts of listening and singing then mattered because music was a stimulus to which the human ear could not help but respond.
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music stimulated the body and generated particular feelings. with those preliminary ideas in mind, i invite you to listen to one of the most most important political songs of the time, "hail columbia."
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